Australian woman ordered to pay more than $500,000 in damages for negative Google review

A woman was charged to pay damages after a negative Google review DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images
  • The New South Wales Supreme Court has ordered a woman to pay more than $500,000 in damages following a negative review she posted on Google.
  • Cynthia Imisides claimed she did not have a cheek procedure done by Sydney-based plastic surgeon Dr Kourosh Tavakoli and posted a negative review about it on Google.
  • The court later found that Cynthia’s claims were “untrue” and ordered her to pay damages as well as Tavakoli’s legal fees.

The New South Wales Supreme Court has ordered a woman to pay more than $500,000 in damages following a negative review she posted on Google.

In February 2017, Cynthia Imisides had surgery performed on her nose and cheeks by Sydney based cosmetic plastic surgeon, Dr Kourosh Tavakoli, according to court documents.

Tavakoli’s website proclaims him to be a “household name for elite plastic surgery in Australia”, with a specialty in breast augmentation.

Imisides claimed she had been charged for a buccal fat procedure, which is where the fat around your cheeks is removed, but it had not been performed by Tavakoli. She told her ex-husband and published a negative review on Tavakoli’s Google page in September 2017.

The judge ruled that when Imisides told her ex-husband about the ‘false’ procedures, she knew the statement was untrue.

“She knew that the statement made to [her ex husband] as to the non-performance of the operation was untrue and she knew that the second Google review statements were untrue,” Justice Stephen Rothman said.

Following the review, traffic to Tavakoli’s site dropped by more than 23% in less than a week. When Tavakoli became aware of the publication of the review, he said he became “extremely distressed and embarrassed”.

In late September, Imisides was served a court order about the review and it was removed from the site. Then, one week before the trial was set to start, she went on to publish yet another negative review about the procedure on Google.

Imisides was ordered to pay Tavakoli $530,000 in damages for defamation as well as pay his legal costs.

“The allegations contained in the publication are extremely serious and go to the heart of the reputation of [Tavakoli] in his profession,” Rothman said.

Imisides was also ordered not to publish her negative review on Google. Business Insider has reached out to Google for comment.

This decision comes after a landmark Supreme Court ruling in Australia that found media companies could be sued for defamation for public comments made on their Facebook pages.

But with this case, it seems you can still be held accountable for your online comments. So if you don’t have anything nice to say, maybe consider getting your facts straight before posting.